Skip navigation

Mick Cooper Professor of Counselling Psychology Department of Psychology University of Roehampton

Mick's presentation covered the school-based counselling and said that ot is one of the most prevalent mental health interventions for young people in the UK, with approximately 70,000-90,000 cases per year.  This paper reviews the provision of school-based counselling in the UK, evidence of effectiveness, strengths, areas for development in relation to a contemporary mental health agenda, and key new initiatives.

School-based counselling services in the UK generally offer one-to-one supportive therapy, with clients typically referred through their pastoral care teachers, and attending for 3-6 sessions.  Around two-thirds of young people attending school-based counselling services are experiencing psychological difficulties at ‘abnormal’ or ‘borderline’ levels; with problems that have often been present for a year or more.  Clients are typically in the 13-15 year old age range, white, most commonly female; and presenting with family problems or, if boys, anger.  With respect to effectiveness, non-directive supportive therapy is a NICE-recommended intervention for mild depression; and there is emerging evidence to suggest that school-based humanistic counselling – a distillation of common school-based counselling practices in the UK – is effective at reducing psychological distress and helping young people achieve their personal goals. 

School-based counselling is evaluated positively by service users and school staff; and is perceived by them as an effective means of bringing about improvements in students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing.  School staff and service users also perceive school-based counselling as enhancing young people’s capacity to engage with studying and learning.  From the standpoint of a contemporary mental health agenda, the key strengths of school-based counselling are that it is perceived as a highly accessible service; and that it increases the extent to which all young people have an independent, supportive professional to talk to about difficulties in their lives.  However, there are also several areas for development: increasing the extent to which practice is evidence-informed, greater use of outcome monitoring, ensuring equity of access to young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, increasing service user involvement, and enhancing levels of integration with other mental health provisions.  It is hoped that current initiatives in the development of competences, e-learning resources and accreditation for counsellors working with young people will help to achieve this. 

Mick went on to say that the conclusions of the review are that commissioners should give consideration to the utility of school-based mental health provisions; and that school-based counsellors – working with colleagues in the field of child and adolescent mental health – have the potential to contribute to a comprehensive, integrated and ‘young person-centred’ system of mental health care

Related Events of Interest:

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: Ensuring Compliance in Practice
Monday 13 October 2014London

Improving Mental Health Crisis Care
Friday 17 October 2014 London

Positive and Proactive Care: Reducing the need for restrictive interventions
Thursday 23 October 2014 London

Psychosis & Schizophrenia in Adults
Monday 10 November 2014 London

Smoking Cessation in Mental Health
Monday 10 November 2014 London

Nursing Staffing Levels and Skill Mix In Mental Health
Monday 17 November 2014 London

Masterclass: The Mental Capacity Act and Advance Decisions
Tuesday 2 December 2014 London

Delirium: Implementing the New NICE Quality Standard
Tuesday 9 December 2014 London

Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
Tuesday 9 December 2014 London

Improving the Quality of Perinatal Mental Health Services
Thursday 11 December 2014 London

Masterclass: The Legal use of Control and Restraint
Wednesday 14 January 2015 London

Positive and Proactive Care: Reducing the need for restrictive interventions
Tuesday 3 February 2015 Birmingham

Psychological Therapies in the NHS 2015
Wednesday 11 February 2015 — Thursday 12 February London


Download: School-based counselling in UK secondary schools: a review and critical evaluation

9 October 2014

 PreviousNext 

    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
    GGI (Good Governance Institute) accredited conferences CPD Member ASGBI (Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland) professional partner BADS (British Association of Day Surgery) accredited conferences